The Abbott Antibody Test

COVID-19 Antibody Testing

Atruchecks are now offering a COVID-19 antibody test to identify whether you have previously had COVID-19. The manufacturer, Abbott, claims the test is 99% accurate [1].

The Abbott antibody test is being rolled out across the UK after endorsement from Public Health England. It is the second COVID-19 antibody test to be approved in the UK after the Swiss company, Roche’s test. The test is CE marked, indicating it meets EU safety standards for diagnostic testing [1].

The test is laboratory analysed by our UKAS-accredited laboratory partner. However, finger-prick samples can be taken quickly and easily at home and returned in a prepaid envelope.

What is antibody testing?

The immune system produces antibodies in response to an invading pathogen such as the novel coronavirus to fight off infection. One type of antibody, IgG antibodies, are produced during the later stages of infection and remain in the body even after the infection resolves.

IgG antibodies are specific to the invading pathogen, so in COVID-19, the body produces antibodies that are specific to this type of coronavirus. The antibody test detects these COVID-19 antibodies in the blood to determine whether you have been infected with the virus. 

As IgG antibodies are produced later on in the infection, this test should be performed at least 14 days after the first signs of infection.

IgG antibodies are typically associated with long-term immunity. However, it is unclear whether you can develop COVID-19 a second time if you already have these antibodies [2]. Researchers are currently working hard to answer this.

How accurate is our test?

Understandably, patients and clinicians want to know if they can trust the test results. Abbott has released data about their test showing it has very high accuracy, similar to that of Roche’s antibody test for the venous tests.

If performed at least 14 days after first symptoms, the sensitivity and specificity of the Abbott test is 100% and 99.6%, respectively [1], compared to 100% and 99.81% for Roche’s test [3]. We tested the accuracy of the Abbott test ourselves and achieved a sensitivity of 98.5% (132 Samples) and a specificity of 99.5%. (186 Samples).  

You might be wondering what this means for you. The sensitivity is a measure of the ability to detect positive cases; the higher sensitivity, the less likely you will receive a negative result if you have had COVID-19 (false-negative). The higher specificity, the lower the likelihood that anyone who has not been infected with the virus will receive a positive result (false-positive).

Why is antibody testing so important?

Antibody testing for COVID-19 will help to determine the percentage of the UK population that has been infected with the novel coronavirus. 

Widespread testing would enable the spread of the virus to be better understood, and it would assist the Government in lifting the lockdown restrictions. Testing key workers for COVID-19 will also help in the fight against the pandemic, identifying individuals who have had COVID-19 and recovered from the infection.

Antibody testing will also facilitate research into new treatments and help plan for future outbreaks.

For more information about the COVID-19 antibody test and it works, see our Coronavirus (COVID-19) IgG Serology Antibody Blood Test under the COVID-19 range of blood tests.


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